Asian-inspired plant-based recipes

Vietnamese-inspired Braised Tofu Balls

Watch how to make it here

Here’s another fun and unique way to incorporate tofu into your diet. Try these delicious tofu balls with rice and vegetables for a meatless meal. 

A few notes:

  1. Vegan fish sauce is quick and easy to put together. You can make your own vegan fish sauce (recipe here) or purchase a premade bottle at Whole Foods. 
  2. The fresno red chili peppers are spicy so do use caution or dismiss this ingredient altogether if avoiding spicy foods.
  3. For any leftovers, store the tofu balls, cucumber and tomatoes separately. To reheat the tofu balls, microwave for 1-2 minutes until hot.


Vietnamese Braised Tofu Balls

January 23, 2021
: 20 min
: 40 min


  • 1 package firm or extra firm tofu
  • 6 oz wood ear mushroom, minced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ yellow onion, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 green onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp mushroom seasoning
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch (add 1 tbsp water to create cornstarch slurry)
  • Topping
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 fresno red chili pepper
  • Kitchen accessories
  • Nut milk bag
  • Food processor
  • Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Prep the wood ear mushroom, garlic, yellow onion, shallot, and green onion. Add everything to a food processor to mince everything finely. It is important to mince it finely otherwise the tofu balls will not hold together. Next, use a nut milk bag to squeeze out all the liquid from the tofu. Alternatively, pressing the tofu for an hour with a towel and heavy object would work as well. Once the tofu is completely dry, take it out of the bag and crumble it into a bowl with the wood ear, garlic, yellow onion, shallot and green onion mixture. Add the white pepper, mushroom seasoning, black pepper, salt, sugar and cinnamon and mix everything well.
  • Step 2 Scoop out about 2 tbsp of the tofu mixture onto the palm of your hand and roll and press firmly into a shape of a ball. Continue this process until you’ve used the entire mixture. Place the tofu balls on parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping halfway.
  • Step 3 Meanwhile the tofu balls are baking, let’s prepare the sauce. In a saucepan, add the sugar, vegan fish sauce, soy sauce, coconut water, salt and black pepper. Allow it to simmer for 5 minutes before adding the cornstarch slurry. Add more slurry if the sauce is not thick enough. Set to the side.
  • Step 4 At this point, the tofu balls should be ready. To make the tofu balls crispier, pan fry in a nonstick pan with 1 tbsp of oil for a few minutes until golden. Pour the sauce over the balls and make sure it is evenly coated throughout. Turn off the heat, add the sesame seeds and red chili pepper. Serve with rice, fresh cucumber and tomato slices. Enjoy! 🙂

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